The Rome meeting, brought to you by Zoom meeting
First there was the TP shortage. Then: baking yeast, tie dye, and dumbbells. Now, pandemic shortages have reached a new level of specificity: ketchup packets.
Markets barely budged yesterday. President Biden said all US adults should be eligible for a Covid vax by April 19 – nearly 1 in 5 Americans have been fully vaxed.
Leading yuan... China just created its own digital currency: the digital yuan (#digi-yuan). It's the first major world economy to launch an e-currency. China isn't just putting cash into a virtual bank account — it's minting cash digitally, turning legal tender into lines of code. For each digi-yuan it issues, it essentially cancels a paper yuan.
More money control... more control. Beijing is testing digi-yuan expiration dates that could encourage people to spend within a certain time frame (to support economic stimulus). China uses hundreds of millions of facial recognition cameras to surveil and fine citizens for things like jaywalking. With digi-yuan, it could automatically draw the fine money from people's accounts.
Digi-yuan = a threat to the US dollar.... The USD is currently the Superman of global currency. Its stable and reliable rep has made it the world's "reserve currency" for international purchases (think: Canada buying oil from Mexico... in US dollars). The USD is used in 88% of foreign exchange trades — the yuan is used in only 4%. That global currency power makes US sanctions a nightmare for countries and individuals who get frozen out. Now that China is positioning the digi-yuan for international use, that could present an attractive alternative to the USD for sanctioned countries.... And for billions of low-income workers who don't want to pay fees when they transfer money to family abroad.
Forget the hot towel... Flashback to December 2019: the travel industry is booming. Flights are so packed you can barely snag a seat to visit grandma in Rome, Georgia. Flash forward to mid-pandemic: even Rome, Italy has no takers. On April 15 last year, only 90K people passed through TSA checkpoints... 97% fewer than pre-pandemic. Now...
Goodbye, in-flight champagne... hello $5 André bottle. After Zooming-from-home for over a year, companies are asking themselves questions like: "Does Carla really need to shake hands with Frida over lobster in Singapore to make the $1M deal happen?" Many are saying "no" — and that's a big problem for airlines.
Investors aren't making pre-pandemic comparisons... Pre-corona, airlines were riding a streak of record profits. In February 2020, Delta was so profitable that it paid out $1.6B in profit-sharing bonuses to employees. Then the pandemic hit, and airlines erased years of gains with their ginormous 2020 losses. Still, Delta and American shares are only down less than 13% from late January 2020 — and Southwest stock is up 13%. Investors are seeing the cabin half-full: they're looking past the pre-pandemic norm, and focusing on the emerging recovery.
If every kiss begins with Kay, then can it only be Jared? 🎶
Signet is the slogan-famous jewelry legend that owns Kay, Zales, and Jared. Now it's buying a subscription company to make jewelry rentals mainstream.
Tune in to hear why diamonds are a renter's best friend.